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Small Business Grants - The Truth and the Myths

Obtaining a small business grant can be mysterious, complicated and difficult. I do not mean to discourage you from trying to go after small business grants but you need to understand the reality of the process.

As a small business owner I found many interesting facts about small business grants.

First, the old adage that "nothing is for nothing" really does apply when seeking small business grants. Sadly there are many websites that will try to convince you otherwise. Be very careful of the sites that claim that it is as simple as signing up on their program or by purchasing their product you will automatically be showered with money - it simply is not true.

So how do you go about getting a small business grant?

1. You must know the sources of where grants are available:

Private grants - here you will find that there are private foundations that provide small business grants however they are very narrowly focused and highly competitive. I highly recommend you seek individuals who have experience in you area of business to coach you through the process.

One source of such individuals (mentors) will be found in the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has a group of mentors who are a voluntary group of individuals who counsel small business owners at no charge.

There are 389 offices across the United States and I recommend that you make contact with your local office to seek their advice. Click on this link to find the office in your area.

Federal grants - it may come as a surprise to many that the Federal government does not offer specific grant programs to small businesses.
There is a catalog called the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. This is a searchable compendium of all grants and public assistance programs currently funded by the U.S. federal government. Eligible groups, application processes and contact information is listed for each program.

Click here to go to the CFDA website.

State Grants - this is where you will find grants available for small businesses. Each state offers different programs & has their own individual requirements for eligibility.

2. If you have decided to forge ahead - be prepared.

You will need to prepare a solid business plan and a presentation to the sources of small business grants.

This is a time-consuming exercise which normally takes months to be successful. I highly recommend you seek a coach who has experience is securing small business grants.

Small business grants are available, but in most cases it is related to education, technology or research and development. You will be required to submit reports on an ongoing basis showing how the funds have been applied according to your business plan.

If you are not able to convince those responsible for administering small business grants, the funding can dry up.

So, now that I have given you the bad news about small business grants what are you going to do?

My hope is that you now have a more clear picture of the process. Good luck.